In a floor speech Wednesday night, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) gave House Republicans both barrels for opposing a veterans bill over an abortion provision.
“If you can’t state it, then be clear you believe in no exceptions for women,” she blustered, adding that Republicans favor “a cold heartless, violent approach to women’s health.”
One can imagine Slotkin’s inward glee at being granted the spotlight to deliver a politically-charged tirade in a season when Democrats want to make the midterms all about abortion.
“You want to ban all abortions,” she went on. “That is your goal. Many of you have been open about that, and if you flip the House, we know that you will put forward a full ban on all abortion for all states.”
The so-called Solid Start Act is reportedly meant to address the needs of military veterans as they make the transition back to civilian life after their service.
The bill, S.1198, was first introduced in the Senate in April 2021 by its sponsor, Sen. Margaret Wood Hassan (D-N.H.). It passed the Senate earlier this month and moved to the House for debate. Following the House debate, the vote was delayed.
It is not a particularly lengthy bill by today’s standards. But there is one clause in there that is an obvious euphemism for abortion. The bill states that the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide “women veterans with information that is tailored to their specific health care and benefit needs.” Republican lawmakers who have their antennae up for such clauses objected, and that’s when the fireworks commenced.
“In terms of making decisions on behalf of women, if you wanna take a veterans bill and make it about abortion, then let’s do it,” Slotkin said. “What you are saying – and you’re saying in front of the American people – is that you believe a veteran who has been raped, who was the victim of incest, or who is having a dangerous miscarriage, does not deserve access to abortion.”
You’ve got to love the line “and you’re saying [it] in front of the American people.” But it wasn’t a stump speech or anything.
The scolding reached its nadir with this little time-tested nugget: “Who do you think you are?!” And if that weren’t enough, she went to the well again. “Shame on you!” she concluded at the end of her allotted time.
Key takeaway: Slotkin definitely thinks she is better than you.
Interestingly, the bill doesn’t do much other than to fortify, or “codify,” already-existing VA policy. Sen. Hassan’s one-page summary of the bill clarifies this: “This bill would codify the VA’s program and provide clarity on some of its policy objectives.”
Indeed, on September 2, the VA announced that it would provide abortions for veterans who are victims of rape or incest. That much would not typically upset Republicans. But a catch-all phrase is included in the VA policy: “or when the life of the woman is at risk.” All you need is a doctor to say that the pregnancy could endanger the life of the mother. Finding a doctor to say that is not much of a challenge these days.
Slotkin’s speech was full of bald-faced vitriol. Here is some more of it, for those who feel they need a spanking today:
What the VA guidelines say is that if you’ve been raped, or the victim of incest, or a medical professional deems that your pregnancy is a risk to your health, the one in four women in this country who has had a miscarriage – probably many women in this room – that you are a better judge of who gets to decide the future of their life and not a medical doctor. Who do you think you are?!
You are politicians. We are all, on this floor, elected officials and not medical professionals. If it was your wife, your daughter who was suffering through a miscarriage, are you gonna tell her she can’t until her fever gets high enough and until she’s bleeding harder? That’s what’s happening in the state of Texas right now.
If that’s what you want for veterans, shame on you! Shame on you!”
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